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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, July 20, 2018


11 US female senators send letter to Hasina

Grameen Bank Issue

Share on Facebook June 29, 2012, Reporter : BanglaNews24, Reader : 605

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DHAKA: All 17 female members of the United States Senate released a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh expressing their strong support for preserving the autonomy of the Grameen Bank.

As per the joint statement released on June 27, the US lawmakers urged Sheikh Hasina to protect the independence of Grameen Bank from further government intervention. 

In the letter, the senators urged the Bangladesh Prime Minister to allow the current Board of Directors to retain their authority, and independently manage the process for selecting a new managing director. 

According to the statement, Grameen Bank has long been a leader not only in microfinance and poverty-reduction efforts, but also in its work empowering poor, rural women of Bangladesh. It has been a much-emulated model for the rest of the world. 

Women make up the vast majority of Grameen Bank`s borrowers, own 97 percent of the equity in the bank, and are represented by nine of the 13 seats on the Board of Directors.

 Any additional interference by the government in the authority of Grameen`s Board of Directors would be an enormous setback to the human and legal rights of these women. 

With less than two months until the Bangladesh government-appointed commission releases its recommendations for the future of the Grameen Bank, it is essential that the U.S., along with other governments that are major donors and allies to Bangladesh, use all available diplomatic tools to urge Prime Minister Hasina to protect the independence of the Bank and its borrowers. 

 In the statement, Grameen Bank empowered millions of current and future women, their families and their communities in their move out of poverty to prosperity. They will continue their support in all steps taken for maintaining stability and institutional acceptability.  

Signers of the letter include: Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Under pressure from the Prime Minister, Grameen Bank`s founder and former managing director, Nobel Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, was forced out of his position in May 2011.

The government has now appointed a commission to look into the operations of Grameen Bank and make recommendations as to its future leadership. This commission is widely seen as a way for the government to take control of the Grameen Bank from its women borrower-owners. 

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